The six types of "Difficult Children" - how to recognize them

child rearing discipline

Difficult children are not bad children, they are simply children with whom parents have more difficulty communicating and controlling their behavior.

Very often, however, it is these stubborn, strong-willed, energetic and stubborn children who grow up to become leaders in various areas of life. That is why it is so important to impose the necessary restrictions on them to stop their self-destructive behavior, to cover their shortcomings and to develop their potential. The important thing in this case is not to break the spirit of the children, but to channel their enormous energy into constructive activities.

Thousands of people with troubled children have passed through Andrew Fuller's office. After years of practice, however, he noticed a certain repeatability in the type of children and their behavioral problems.

Thus, he classified six types of problem children: manipulators, diplomats, debaters, competitors, daredevils and quiet rebels. Depending on the category they fall into, children require different attitudes and methods of influence.

Andrew Fuller also looks at problems in children and by age group. Parents of five-year-olds will face very different challenges than those of teenagers, so knowing age-related issues helps parents recognize the critical situation and respond appropriately.

Various techniques and guidance are given to tame children, to create healthy habits, to develop their interests, to build relationships of love and trust in the family. The most common problems are discussed and various methods and means of dealing with the situation are suggested.

Andrew Fuller: One day I finally realized that I actually had the same kids hanging around in my office. True, with different faces, quirks and characters, but the basic patterns were repeated almost verbatim. After discussing my findings in workshops with hundreds of thousands of parents and teachers, the ideas were refined into a few clearly recognizable patterns of behavior.

Manipulators: These children can completely mesmerize adults and spin them on their little finger. They need to be the center of attention and to be the best at everything.

In some cases, they bully other children, but they are real masters of pretending to be "holy water not drunk" in front of adults.

They quickly adapt their behavior to the situation, starting from the position that the end justifies the means.

Diplomats: These children are extraordinarily clever and endlessly inventive. Denis Belyata is a typical representative of this species.

They charm others with their cheerful disposition, but they don't know when to stop. They never admit defeat.

If you are the parents of such a child, you will forever oscillate between two feelings: laughter and the pleasure of fun and the desire to strangle him.

Disputants: These children are zealous advocates of justice and equality. They are energetic and determined children with a gift of speech - a deadly combination! They can turn your life into a constant argument about who got the biggest piece and "if it's fair."

If you make them do something, you will have to prepare for a fightback and a discussion as if you were at the International Court of Human Rights.

The contestants: For them, victory is most important; they are ready to do anything, but not to back down. They stand their ground even when it is against their own interests, overcome by the thirst for victory.

They have an amazing spirit and could conquer the whole world. Or at least your home!

Battles can go on for years, leaving you with the bitter feeling that you've never fought for so long… over such small things.

Daredevils: These children are thrill seekers and love challenges. Daredevils are known from afar: they often limp or are bandaged.

Their fearlessness is proverbial, but they do not know how to measure the risks they take. They are usually very good at heart and have no intention of worrying you at all - as they have no fear, and it never occurs to them that you might be worried.

Growing them is like practicing an extreme sport.

The Quiet Rebels: They are difficult to understand, secretive and disorganized.

They infuriate their parents with their non-participation and silence. They often close in on themselves and find it difficult to reveal their thoughts and feelings.

Sometimes it seems to you that they do not hear you at all and do not understand what you are saying to them.

Many of the quiet rebels are very intelligent and extremely sensitive. Some might comment on growing up like this: "I had a great childhood, except I almost drove ours crazy."

A guide to recognizing difficult children

One of life's greatest paradoxes is that many of the children who drove their parents crazy as children end up becoming high-profile and influential individuals when they grow up. They have incredible energy and leadership potential. In my 25 years of experience with parents and their children, I have learned that there are generally two categories of children:

1. Affectionate, kind, friendly, obedient children. Do you remember? You tell them, for example, to tidy up their room - and after a week or so, the children's room is clean and tidy.

2. The mischievous and crazy, who roll something on their finger - end. These kids are really hard to raise… They can literally drive their parents crazy. But it is they who are generously gifted with the qualities of pioneers and leaders.


Children and teens develop resilience when they have:

  • the certainty that they are loved in their family;
  • a diverse group of friends;
  • an adult outside the family with whom they get along.

You'll help your child build inner resilience by always making it clear that you love him (while also making it clear that you don't like the way he's behaving at the moment).

One way to freely express your love for a difficult child is to not give in to them to the point where you yourself feel used.

Parents often give too much of themselves and end up feeling disgusted and used, and disgust melts good family relationships. If you feel this - stop! Give yourself some rest. For a while, don't offer your help for nothing.

From Andrew Fuller's book, Difficult Children
Hermes Publishing House

Look more:

The rattle in children and the four wrong reactions of parents

Modern Parenting - How We Raise Spoiled Children

10 ways to educate without yelling, slapping and punishment

Stubborn children - is there a solution?


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